Thursday, 24 February 2011

Interval acts - 2008: Goran Bregović

Goran Bregović (1950) is a musician from Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the most internationally known modern composers of the Balkan. Gorans compositions are a mix of popular music with traditional music from the Balkan, tango and brass bands.

Goran was born in Sarajevo, he studied violin and guitar and played in several bands. Goran recorded many very successful albums. Since 1998 Goran performs his music mainly in the form of concerts all over the world with his Weddings and Funeral Orchestra. This band consists of 10 people or more, this depends on participants from the host country.

During the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, held in Belgrade, Goran and his orchestra played during the Interval act of the grand final. In 2010 Goran wrote all the three entries for the Serbian pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. The song Predsedniče Halo by Oliver Katić came 3rd, Ti Kvariigro sung by Emina came 2nd and Ovo je Balkan sung by Milan Stanković won the Serbian national final and came 13th in Oslo.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Die Schmetterlinge

Die Schmetterling is an Austrian Folk Band and they were popular in the 70s and early 80s. The band was founded in 1969 and the original members were Willy Resetarits, George Hernnstadt, Fredi Rubatschek and Erich Meixner. In 1970 Brigitte Schuster joined the band but in 1971 she was replaced by Pippa Armstrong. Fredi also left the band and was replaced by Herbert Zöchling-Tampier. In 1976 singer Beatrix Neundlinger joined the band, she was also a member of the Milestones who represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972 with the song Falter Im Wind.

The band was quite popular and they performed a lot on folk festivals throughout Europe.

In 1977 Die Schmetterlinge represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest in London with the song Boom Boom Boomerang which finished 17th. The song is one of the more controversial entries in the ESC history, the lyrics were satirical and more of a parody of the ESC . The performance was also memorable, as the band featured four male singers wearing white suits and red shirts. During the performance, the men would turn their back to the audience revealing a costume which looked like the front of a toledo complete with a fake face. A performance like this had not been seen at the Contest.

In 1979 the band released an LP with political songs and they sang the theme tune of a German movie.
Today the band performs only sporadically.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Rita Hovink

Hendriekje Jannie Vink (1944-1979), better known as Rita Hovink, was a Dutch singer. Rita was especially known for her low dramatic voice.

Rita wanted to be an actress but decided later on to be a singer. Rita was very popular in the Netherlands and had several hits.

In 1977 Rita participated in the Dutch pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Toen Kwam Jij. The song finished, totally unexpected, last with only 2 points. During her performance Rita forgot her lyrics.

Her biggest hit was Laat Me Alleen, a cover of the Italian song Pazza Idea.

In 1978 Rita became seriously ill and died in 1979 at the age of 35.

In 2008 the Dutch singer Gerard Joling made a cover of Laat Me Alleen, for the video Gerard was added to the original video.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Shirley Clamp

Shirley Natasja Clamp (born February 17 1973 in Borås, Sweden) is a Swedish pop singer. She has achieved four Top 10 singles in Sweden including a Number 1 with Med hjärtat fyllt av ljus in 2009, and three Top 10 albums. She has competed five times in Melodifestivalen between 2003 and 2011, reaching the final twice where she finished second in 2004 and fourth in 2005.

Because her mother is Swedish and her father is British, Shirley has dual nationality.

Shirley Clamp's career began as a backing singer for various singers and groups, including Antique during their Eurovision Song Contest 2001 performance.

She started her solo career in 2003, when she took part in Melodifestivalen 2003 with the song Mr. Memory. Finishing in 6th place in her semifinal, she lost the chance to qualify for the final. Her big breakthrough came in Melodifestivalen 2004 with the song Min kärlek composed by Ingela "Pling" Forsman. She came fourth in the last semifinal and went on to take second place at Andra Chansen, the second chance semifinal, thus qualifying for the final. There she was the first artist on stage, and ended 2nd, behind Lena Philipsson's immensely popular winner, Det gör ont. A little later, in May 2004, Shirley released her first studio album, Den långsamma blomman.

In 2005 she tried once again to win Melodifestivalen, with the song Att älska dig. Shirley won the first semifinal, but in the final in Stockholm, she ended 4th. Her second studio album, Lever mina drömmar was released in April 2005. A year later, she released Favoriter på svenska, a special covers album, containing songs with lyrics in Swedish, such as Roxette's It Must Have Been Love (När kärleken föds).

Shirley Clamp appeared at Melodifestivalen again in 2009 with the song "Med Hjärtat Fyllt Av Ljus." She placed last in the first semi-final, but eventually received a Swedish #1 single with the song. She was also a commentator for SVT during the Eurovision Song Contest 2009.

Shirley returned to Melodifestivalen in 2011 with Shirley's Angels, alongside Vera Prada and Jessica Marberger, with the song I Thought It Was Forever. The trio competed in the third heat and advanced to Andra Chansen, where they were knocked out in the fourth duel against Pernilla Andersson.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Marie Myriam

Marie Myriam, born as Myriam Lopès on May 8, 1957 in Brega Portugal is a Portuguese French singer.

In 1977 Marie won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song L'oiseau Et L'enfant with music by Jean Paul Cara and lyrics by Joe Gracy. The single became a hit in Europe and Marie recorded several language versions of the song.

In 1981 Marie represented France at the World Popular Song Festival in Japan with the song Sentimentale which came 9th and won an Outstanding Song Award.

In recent years Marie has read out the votes of the French jury/televote at the Eurovision Song Contest and in 2005 she was a guest presenter and performer during the 50th ESC anniversary concert in Copenhagen.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

World Popular Song Festival - Mariska Veres

Mariska Veres (1947-2006) was a Dutch singer who was best known as the leadsinger of the group Shocking Blue.

Mariska was born in the Hague. Her father was a famous Hungarian violin player, her mother was born in Germany of French and Russian parents. Mariska's elder sister Ilonka accompanied her father on the piano.

Mariska began her career as a singer in 1963 with the guitar band Les Mysteres. In 1968 Mariska was invited to join Shocking Blue to replace singer Fred de Wilde who had join the army. In 1969/1970 Shocking Blue gained worldwide fame with the single Venus.

In 1974 Shocking Blue split up and Mariska started her solo career. In that same year she represented the Netherlands at the World Popular Song Festival with the, in my opinion, beautiful ballad I Need You Near Me. Unfortunately the song stranded in the semi-finals. The single was only released in Japan.

In 1984 Shocking Blue was reunited and their comeback was quite successful. In 1993 Mariska started the jazz group The Shocking Jazz Quintet and recorded the album Shocking You with jazz covers of 60's and 70's hits. From 1993 to 2006 she performed in a Shocking Blue tribute band.

In 2006 Mariska died of cancer.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Jenny Silver

Jenny Maria Silver, born January 22, 1974, is a Swedish country, dance band, disco, pop and rock singer.

Jenny was a singer in the Swedish dance band Candela from 1991 until 1997. The band became popular in Sweden in early 1994 and had several hits in the Swedish charts. She had also sung in the band Holden and worked with other Swedish artists. Jenny played in musicals like Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar.

In 2010 Jenny participated in the Swedish Melodifestivalen with the song A Place to Stay which came last in the first semi-final. In 2011 Jenny tried again, this time with the song Something In Your Eyes. Unfortunately the song stranded in the semi-finals.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


The Turkish group Pan consisted of Hazal Selçuk, Arzu Ece, Sarper Semiz and Vedat Sakman and in 1989 they represented Turkey at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Bana Bana which was written by Timur Selçuk who is the father of Hazal Selçuk. At the the contest Bana Bana finished 21st.

Cat Cat

CatCat is a Finnish duo and consists of the sisters Virpi and Katja Kätkä. In 1994 they represented Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Bye Bye Baby. The song was one of the favorites for 1st place but the conductor Olli Ahvenlahti refused that the backing track played along with the orchestra so the modern song was only played by the orchestra and sounded a bitt dull and old fashioned. CatCat performed wearing long coats over quite revealing costumes resembling vintage underwear. The costumes were identical apart from the colour, the blonde sister, Virpi, appeared in green, and the brunette, Katja, in pink. Each of them carried a microphone with a tip was coloured to match their costume. They were accompanied by two black dancers dressed in the early 90s rapper style, they wore identical waistcoats, one in pink and one in green, and performed a dance routine inspired by breakdance, but also containing a lot of waving goodbye in the sections when CatCat sang the chorus. Eventually CatCat finished only 22nd out of 25 contenders but Bye Bye Baby is still one of my all time favorites.

Virpi studied music and piano at the Universaty. In 2010 Virpi released her first solo album. The album includes new songs but also a new version of Bye Bye Baby.

Katja works at a music school and teaches music and singing.